How To Optimize Your YouTube Videos For A Global Audience

By Megan O'Neill 

YouTube is a global platform but language and cultural barriers can often make it difficult to reach a global audience.  In the latest update to the YouTube Creator Playbook, version 2, YouTube offers up some tips on how to optimize your video content to reach as many viewers as possible.

Consider this: You upload a video to YouTube.  The video is in English, but it’s got international appeal.  Sure, people from North America, Australia, the UK, South Africa and other English speakers around the world will be able to watch and enjoy.  But what about those that don’t speak English—how will they be able to discover, let alone understand, your content?  And what about those that are hard of hearing?

You don’t have to sacrifice those views, or leave those viewers in the dust.  Here are four tips for reaching all audiences, care of YouTube.

Cater Your Content To a Global Audience

If you want to reach a global audience then, first things first, you need to be producing content with global appeal.  A video about a trend or topic that is only interesting to Americans isn’t going to take off outside of the United States.

In the Creator Playbook, YouTube suggests, “Make use of subjects or themes that have cross-cultural and global appeal such as animation, dance, animals, or strong visuals without dialogue.”  They also suggest focusing on trends that are popular in different specific regions around the globe, tying in content related to tent-pole events happening internationally and more.

Caption your videos

Language is one of the biggest barriers when it comes to getting audiences in different countries watching your videos.  Captioning your videos can help make your videos accessible to an international audience, as well as for the hearing impaired.

YouTube makes it easy to upload captions or to create captions on your own.  You can even use YouTube’s CaptionTube to let fans create captions for you.

If you do caption your videos, make sure to include an annotation or message in your video to let viewers know that the video is captioned so that they can turn on captions if they aren’t already activated.

Add multi-language metadata

Let’s say you’ve created and uploaded a video that you think would be great for a Spanish-speaking audience.  If you write your title, description and tags in English, these Spanish-speaking viewers (who are probably performing their YouTube searching in Spanish) aren’t likely to find your videos.

If you have a video that you think would be good for viewers speaking a couple of different languages, write your title, description and tags in both languages.  Use the language of your primary audience first, followed by the secondary.  This will help viewers discover your content.

Cross-promote with International YouTubers

If there’s a specific global market that you’d like to get into, try finding YouTubers from that region that are similar to you in the types of content they are producing.  Reach out to them to see if they’d like to collaborate.  When you collaborate with other YouTubers you introduce them to your subscriber base and vice versa.  If they’ve already built a subscriber base in the region you’d like to get into, you can gain access to this audience through the collaboration.

YouTube suggests that to find similar YouTubers around the globe, “Change the country setting at the bottom of the YouTube homepage to explore worldly videos and channels.”

Do you cater your YouTube videos to a global audience?  What tricks have you used to help make your videos accessible and to reach the widest audience possible?

Image credit: Debra Hughes via Shutterstock

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.